PUNE: The Solapur police have busted an illegal abortion racket following a raid on a nursing clinic at Mangalvedha in the district and arrested six people, including two doctors and a medicine supplier.
Inspector A R Gade of the Mangalvedha police station said they suspect sex determination tests were being conducted on pregnant women before getting their female fetuses aborted at the clinic.
Acting on a tip-off, the police arrested child specialist Dr Shrikant Marda after raiding his Marda nursing home and Xray clinic. Dr Marda has been remanded in judicial custody and his clinic and machinery have been sealed.
Gade said that during the raid, the police found three pregnant women at the clinic — from Solapur, Pune and Satara districts — who had been administered local anaesthesia. “Two of them said they had come to the clinic to abort their female fetuses. We have arrested the husbands of these two women,” he said.
Gade said further investigations led to the arrest of a homeopath, Dr Vilas Sawant (51), from Mhaswad in Satara district, and Suraj Babar (37) from Kadegaon in Sangli district. They were picked up from their residences on Sunday.
“Dr Sawant, who runs Sanchit Hospital in Mhaswad, was treating patients with allopathic medicines. We have seized pills used in the medical termination of pregnancies from his hospital,” Gade said.
“Babar, who has a clinic in Kadegaon, has studied only up to the tenth standard and later done a course in naturopathy. The sixth man arrested is Suresh Kumbhar from Karnataka, who would supply medicines to the doctors,” he said.
Gade said all six have been charged under eight sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), including 313 (miscarriage without woman’s consent) and 315 (act done with intent to prevent child from being born alive or to cause it to die after birth), and other sections related to forgery, theft, destroying evidence and criminal conspiracy. They have also been booked under provisions of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act.
Gade did not rule out the possibility of the arrest of the two women who admitted they had come to the clinic to abort their female fetuses. “We will decide on their arrest after completing our investigations,” he said.
Gade said an agent who played a crucial role in the racket has been identified. He, however, refused to divulge the agent’s name, saying it could hamper investigations.
Police suspect a network of agents involved in the racket was active in Satara, Sangli and Solapur districts of western Maharashtra. Gade said Sawant and Babar would identify women wanting to abort their female fetuses and send them to Dr Marda.
Dr Sawant and Babar were produced before the Mangalvedha court on Monday and remanded in police custody for four days. Besides Dr Marda, Kumbhar and the husbands of the two women admitted at the clinic are in judicial custody.